by Margaret Hultz and Marie Davis.
Straddling a tree limb, a bugler began the solemn sounds of “Taps,” reverent music punctuated only by mourners’ sniffles. Several coloratura songbirds crooned along, “Day is done, gone the sun…”
While the tune slowly marched, thousands of Monarch butterflies fluttered over the hill—sun shining through their translucent wings—an enormous, flying, stained glass window. Butterfly wing pollen fell in tiny, shimmering gold and black flakes. Each insect settled tenderly on your flag. The coffin creaked. Steadying their wings, the velvety butterflies saluted with their proboscis. Not a person murmured to the other. Squirrels logically cried the hardest. Veterans and snapping turtles stood side by side at attention. Everyone remained motionless through the twenty-one-gun salute. Sooty, musky smells of gunpowder filled the air and waved goodbye as it rose into the sky.
A cleansing, cool breeze blew up from the river, pressing goose-bump chills on the summer afternoon. Maple trees whispered grieving sighs, and the leaves dried their eyes. I wiggled a bit, but stopped short when eyed by mom. Crisp, military uniforms sagged, crying perspiration. Grasses bowed their heads.
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh
All the butterflies lifted off, taking the flag. Everyone wept.